Pray for Syria on the International Day of Peace

 

Join in person or in spirit to pray for peace in Syria on the International Day of Peace. When we all join together, something shifts for good in this world. The collective spirit of peacemakers cannot go unnoticed!

syrian-day-of-peace

Reflections for Advent & Lent. Order by September 18!

 

book cover  Reconciliation with Justice cover

Journey Towards Justice: Reflections for Advent & Christmas 2016 is available for order through September 18. $3.50 + s/h, bulk prices available – contact Lori Nemenz

Reconciliation with Justice: Reflections for Lent 2017 is available for order through January 10, 2017. $3.50 + s/h, bulk prices available – contact Lori Nemenz

We bring peace into the world when we have peace in our hearts. Negativity and war cannot penetrate a person at peace, and violence is stopped in its tracks when it meets a person unwilling to engage in or perpetuate it.

A focus on being peace is one of the most important things we can do for the peace movement. A spirituality of nonviolence means union with God that allows a wellspring of creation. Co-creation with God allows for beauty, love, life, and energy. When we plug into our source we cannot help but create a life and world of goodness, and life flows with ease.

Prayer and meditation are invaluable for us peace activists. That’s why we at Pax Christi USA are dedicated to providing reflection booklets for the seasons of Advent and Lent. They are currently available by pre-order only.

“Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with” you! We hope these reflection booklets serve that purpose for you. They are only available by pre-order so order today!

Contact our Resources Coordinator, Lori Nemenz, if you have any questions about your order.

 

 

World Day of Prayer for Creation

“The earth is our common heritage, the fruits of which should benefit everyone.” Pope Francis

Dear God, Source of All Creation,

Place in our hearts true gratitude for the blessing of our lives as a part of your creation. There is beauty within and all around us, and we often take it for granted. Help us to be; to stop and smell the flowers; pause and appreciate the sunrise; and abide in the Love that all creation points to. We pray for mercy and that your creation, including ourselves, may be restored to the Peace of Christ.

Amen.

Meeting Saint Mother Teresa, Icon of Peace

by Tony Magliano

Mother Teresa by John PasdenAllow me to share with you one of the highpoints of my life – a short, yet deeply enriching
encounter with a saint.

Nearly 30 years ago, I worked at Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington’s emergency food warehouse. Missionaries of Charity sisters caring for HIV/AIDS patients at their Gift of Peace House in Washington, D.C. use to regularly stop by for food assistance.

Since I helped with food distribution, I got to know the sisters. One day while picking up food, one of the sisters said to me, “Mother is coming.” I said, “Do you mean Mother Teresa?” She said, “Yes.” I excitedly replied, “May I come?” And she said, “yes.”

A few days later, standing in front of the Gift of Peace House with about 20 other guests, I saw Mother Teresa get out of a car and walk towards the house. Immediately the sisters affectionately ran to greet her.

Then, as we stood in a circle, Mother Teresa began to walk to each guest silently placing a Miraculous Medal of the Blessed Mother in each of our hands.

I remember she seemed to keep her head humbly bowed as she approached each of us. But when she reached me, I said to her “Namaste” – which is the normal greeting in Hindi.

Lifting up her head, and looking at me somewhat surprised, she greeted me back saying “Namaste.”

Then I said to her in Hindi, “Kaise hain?” Inquiring, how are you? And she replied, “Theek” which means OK.

Having exhausted my Hindi vocabulary, my brief encounter with Mother Teresa of Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) had ended. But the personal experience of conversing with a living saint continues to spiritually enrich my life to this day.

In a few days, on Sept. 4, Pope Francis will canonize Mother Teresa – officially designating her as one of the saints of the Catholic Church.

Imperfect like all of us, yet holier than the vast majority of us, Mother Teresa truly exemplified what it means to pick up one’s cross and follow Jesus.

Read the rest in the Clarion Herald

Violent Summer Pushes U.S. to Once Again Deal with Racism

Family members comfort Diamond Reynolds, the girlfriend of Philando Castile, as his casket arrives July 14 for a funeral service at the Cathedral of St. Paul in St. Paul, Minn. (CNS photo/Eric Miller, Reuters)

by Rhina Guidos,

With the haunting lyrics of a song that refers to a lynching sung in the background, a group of African-American Catholics in Los Angeles gathered in mid-August to meditate on the fatal shootings of unarmed black men and boys, linking their suffering to the persecution and crucifixion of Jesus.

The approximately 150 participants prayed and remembered Oscar Grant, Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin, Rodney King and the circumstances that led them and other people of color in the U.S. to be beaten or killed.

“We needed to do something in the way of prayer,” said Deacon Mark Race, administrator of the Church of the Transfiguration, who organized the Aug. 12 event for his predominantly black parish. “It was so much all at once. We needed to address it so people could spiritually have some type of release.”

After a gunman opened fire July 7 in Dallas, killing five police officers in a presumed act of retaliation for the killings of a black man in Louisiana and another in Minnesota earlier that week, all the attention shifted to police, Race said. Discussion about the killings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, whose deaths were caught on video, ceased, “as if it didn’t happen,” he told Catholic News Service, and it was painful to see that one set of lives lost was considered a national tragedy but other lives lost were not given the same importance.

This summer, as tensions boiled over following a string of killings of black men, the lingering pain indented by racism in the U.S. has once again been brought to the forefront.

It rapidly became an issue that had to be addressed in the presidential election season. The two major presidential candidates in the country have recently made much of the issue while campaigning and in their official party platforms.

The Republican Party platform says it denounces bigotry and racism: “As the party of Abraham Lincoln, we must continue to foster solutions to America’s difficult challenges when it comes to race relations today,” adding that the party considers “unfair preferences, quotas, and set-asides as forms of discrimination.” The Democrats’ platform says, “Our nation’s long struggle with race is far from over,” and “we will push for a societal transformation to make it clear that black lives matter and that there is no place for racism in our country.”

Yet, at the national level, some feel that “there hasn’t been enough response in the way that African-American people would like,” to address racism and also the brutality, past and present, associated with it, said Race.

That’s because racism is an issue that is difficult for many to address, even for communities that have experienced racism historically and consistently, said Sr. Patricia Chappell, executive director of Pax Christi USA in Washington.

“There are the communities where we know that there have been disparities. We know they have experienced inadequate education. We know that in these communities decent and affordable housing have not necessarily been an option for them. We know that in these communities, access to decent health care has not been there. We also know that it’s unfortunate that oftentimes within these communities, the relationship with police has not been positive,” she said.

Add to that mix the brutal history of slavery and other traumatic experiences of black people in the history of the country, and you encounter people who have felt dehumanized, said Sister Chappell.

Sr. Anne-Louise Nadeau, director of programs for Pax Christi USA, said that while slavery and other painful events suffered by black people in the country took place in the past, its pain “is stored in the psyche,” and it doesn’t help to live a society that has ways to go before equality becomes a reality.

“It’s always there,” she said, and then people are faced with living “in a country that has laws and systems setting up to remind you that you’re not quite human because your children don’t deserve a good education and you’re not really quite human because your health care system, you don’t deserve adequate access to it, and you’re denied jobs because of the color of your skin. And then really you’re not quite human enough to have the dignity of a job.”

Because of all those circumstances, said Chappell, who like Nadeau is a Sister of Notre Dame de Namur, the pain manifested this summer is not just about the recent killings.

“The lingering pain … it lingers from the very first time that African-Americans first came to this country,” Chappell told CNS. “We were captured. We were uprooted, and we came to this country as slaves.”

To confront some of that pain, Race and eight other black deacons from the Los Angeles archdiocese, meditated on that history while leading others in prayer that August afternoon in outdoor Stations of the Cross that the neighborhood witnessed. A choir sang “Strange Fruit,” a poem that later became a song and whose “Southern trees bear a strange fruit, blood on the leaves and blood at the root” lyrics reference lynching.

When you look at each violent event that innocent black people have suffered, they begin to mirror events in the life of Jesus, Race said. That’s why it helped to meditate on those events when thinking of the recent string of black men killed while also reflecting on Jesus on his way to Calvary, when he was falsely arrested and convicted, and when he was brutally killed by crucifixion, even though he did nothing wrong, he said. He also thought of Mary, reflected on her pain as she saw her son brutally murdered, much in the same way that many black women are seen mourning for sons or husbands killed.

“I wanted it to be a reflection of Catholic faith,” said Race. “As African-American Catholics, we needed to say we’re part of general population and say something about what was going on.”

Archbishop Wilton Gregory of Atlanta wrote in an Aug. 4 column for The Georgia Bulletin, the archdiocesan newspaper, that “violence lately has become so commonplace that we risk being desensitized to the brutal killings of persons of color,” as well as of others.

“Our Catholic faith and our love for our country must compel us to resolve to address the issues that lie beneath these acts of violence,” he said.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops responded this summer by announcing the creation of a task force to deal with issues of race. It will be headed by Gregory. The bishops have in the past addressed the topic in various documents including in “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship,” issued in presidential election years to educate Catholics on their responsibilities as citizens.

“Where the effects of past discrimination persist,” the document says, “society has the obligation to take positive steps to overcome the legacy of injustice, including vigorous action to remove barriers to education, protect voting rights, support good policing in our communities, and ensure equal employment for women and minorities.”

Chappell said transformation and change in a society can happen and there are good steps being taken toward that. The laity certainly has responded by organizing gatherings and educational activities to understand the issue, she said.

And Catholic organizations such as Network, Pax Christi and others have put out voter guides to educate Catholics on how the different candidates stand on various issues, including racism. But the church’s hierarchy also needs to acknowledge and do something about the problem, she said.

“I’m really hopeful in this task force that is under the sponsorship of the bishops, which have invited religious, clergy, laypeople to come together, to talk about ‘how do we begin to move to have these dialogues?'” she said. “How do we continue to build that beloved community of which everyone … is to be welcome at the table?”

Article found at ncronline.org

Statement on the Killing of Two Nuns, Members of Pax Christi

We are saddened to hear about the sudden killing of Sister Margaret Held and Sister Paula Merrill, both members of Pax Christi.

We hold in high regard the lives they led in service to peace, justice, and people in situations of poverty. It is never easy to understand why such tragedies and violence happen. We pray for peace, the eternal rest of Sister Margaret and Sister Paula, healing for their family and friends, and mercy and love for the person who took their lives.

“We stand in solidarity with those feeling the pain of this tragedy,” Sr. Patricia Chappell, SNDdeN, Executive Director of Pax Christi USA said. “May God grant Sister Margaret and Sister Paula eternal peace.”

Believing…

by Rocco Puopolo, s.x.

dead tree

 

Ishallah – God is Great
Islam  –  Surrender
Barakah  –  Give thanks
Credo  –  I believe.

The light of greatness
shines forth ….
as darkness.

Aren’t they the same?

The silence and depth of the wound…
makes space for the fullness of God.

And so…

I stand beneath a tree
long dead
and displaced
whose dry wood has become the gibbet of another’s death.

And as he dies, his blood moistens the wood
which lost its sap
in other times and other places.

I don’t stand alone,
for there are many who witness the deaths that strike us dumb.

But
God is bigger than us, my friend,
and here we see God’s power.
And we are many.

Ishallah,
Islam,
Barakah,
Credimus,

we believe…..